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Witness contradicts Garcetti in sexual harassment lawsuit

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The previous head of the nonprofit Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles has testified that he heard Mayor Eric Garcetti categorical shock that town hadn’t been sued over his longtime aide Rick Jacobs, who’s now accused of sexual harassment.

Jeremy Bernard, in a March deposition, mentioned he heard Garcetti discuss Jacobs, the mayor’s former deputy chief of employees. Garcetti made a comment to the impact of, “I can’t consider Rick labored out at Metropolis Corridor and that we acquired via it and not using a lawsuit,” in line with Bernard’s testimony.

“I don’t bear in mind the precise phrases,” Bernard testified. “He did make that remark. And I consider there was — to a few — there may need been a few us he had mentioned that to as a result of I’ve heard that from others.”

Bernard’s testimony contradicts what the mayor mentioned in his deposition earlier this 12 months. Garcetti was requested if he made such an announcement and the mayor replied that he didn’t.

Within the deposition, which was reviewed by The Instances on Wednesday, Bernard mentioned he didn’t see Jacobs act in an improper method in social settings or fundraisers from about 2014 to 2018 — a time interval highlighted by attorneys taking his testimony.

Nor did Bernard hear metropolis staff complain about Jacobs’ habits, he mentioned.

Matthew Garza, a Los Angeles police officer and former bodyguard for Garcetti, sued the city last summer, alleging that he was sexually harassed by Jacobs. The mayor witnessed a number of the inappropriate habits however didn’t cease it, in line with Garza’s lawsuit.

Each Jacobs and Garcetti deny the allegations in opposition to them.

Bernard previously served as social secretary and particular assistant to President Obama.

He testified in his deposition that he first met Jacobs within the early 2000s. “I might say there was a time he was one in all my finest associates,” Bernard mentioned. He met Garcetti round 2006 and helped introduce him to then-Sen. Obama, Bernard testified.

Bernard, throughout his deposition, was requested whether or not Garcetti had made a remark about being stunned that Jacobs labored at Metropolis Corridor and town hadn’t been sued.

Bernard mentioned he heard the mayor make the remark, however Garcetti didn’t clarify what he meant by the comment.

He additionally mentioned he didn’t know the place he heard Garcetti make the remark however mentioned it might have occurred round 2017. He mentioned he believed he heard different folks additionally discuss Garcetti making that comment, however he couldn’t bear in mind who they had been.

“I simply do not forget that the dialog — and it sort of being like Rick didn’t get alongside nice with folks down at Metropolis Corridor general,” Bernard testified.

Garcetti, in testimony taken throughout his deposition earlier this 12 months, denied making such an announcement.

“Have you ever ever mentioned to anyone, ‘I can’t consider Rick labored out at Metropolis Corridor and we acquired via and not using a lawsuit?’” Garcetti was requested by Garza’s attorneys throughout his deposition.

“No,” Garcetti replied. “I’ve by no means mentioned that to anyone, publicly or non-public.”

“I stand by my testimony unequivocally,” Garcetti mentioned Wednesday when requested about Bernard’s remarks.

The mayor is predicted to be named U.S. ambassador to India by President Biden.

Garza alleges in his lawsuit that Jacobs touched him inappropriately between 2014 and 2019 and made crude feedback.

Jacobs has denied that he harassed Garza and known as his lawsuit “a piece of pure fiction.” Garcetti testified in his deposition that he didn’t witness any inappropriate habits by his former aide.

Garza alleges Jacobs would lengthen his hand for a purported handshake, however then pull Garza towards him to provide a “lengthy, tight hug,” whereas concurrently saying, “I like me my robust LAPD officers” or another “inappropriate remark,” in line with the go well with.

Bernard mentioned he witnessed Jacobs pulling in folks for hugs after extending his hand. “It was considerably his fashion. I didn’t suppose a fantastic deal about it,” Bernard mentioned.

Bernard additionally mentioned that he didn’t know Garza and wouldn’t acknowledge him.

Bernard testified that he didn’t see Jacobs kiss anybody in a method that “that stood out” as unusual and that Jacobs by no means touched him in a nonconsensual method.

At one other level, Bernard mentioned, “I’m certain that there may need been a time he grabbed me and kissed me. As a result of we had been shut associates, I didn’t overly analyze it, I suppose.”

Bernard, who left the Mayor’s Fund in 2020, mentioned he doesn’t take into account himself to be associates with Jacobs in the present day. He mentioned that Jacobs helped him get the place on the Mayor’s Fund. He mentioned he hasn’t talked to him since across the time he was let go from the nonprofit.

A number of different present or former Garcetti staffers even have given depositions within the Garza lawsuit. One testified that he was subject to unwanted touching by Jacobs. Others have testified that they didn’t see something improper.

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